Yog is a perfect and precise science practiced by the vedic seers for thousands of years and given to us in its pristine form, through the ancient practice of Guru-shishya parampara. The rules of yog stay the same even today despite the lifestyles of individuals undergoing a sea change.
Yog is not about rapid breathing exercises, or tying yourself in knots, it is a beautiful journey of the self. The benefits of yog have been experienced by the practitioner when they have taken up the practice in its entirety. Just as a patient would benefit from the Doctor’s prescription if and only if the patient takes the medication in its entirety, similarly yog has to be seen as a divine prescription, which cannot be altered as per individual’s comfort for acceptance. Further to reap the benefits of these practices you have to practice them regularly because you cannot cure yourself of the disease just by reading the prescription, you need to take the medicine as well.
Yog simply put is union in, and union with, all spheres of life. One does not have to renounce this world and go to the mountains. A practitioner of yog can lead a life of a householder, executing all his or her responsibilities towards the family and the society.
We are starting a series on specific practices from Sanatan Kriya, which is Ashtang Yog in its unadulterated form, which sadhaks at Dhyan Foundation have been practicing for years now and benefited on the physical, emotional, mental and the financial planes and all these people are at responsible positions in the society with jobs or businesses and families to look after.
Let us start with the first step, abdominal breathing.
- Sit down with your spine absolutely straight on a firm but soft surface. Sit in a clean, well-ventilated but not windy environment. Ensure that you’re sitting without any support to your back.
- Close your eyes and start breathing through your nose. Throughout the entire asan do not breathe from your mouth.
- Now take your awareness to your abdomen. Exhale very slowly and as you exhale pull your abdomen in, then slowly start inhaling with your abdomen expanding as if the air was filling your abdominal cavity. Once you have inhaled to your abdomen’s full capacity, start exhaling again.
- Repeat this process of abdominal inhalation and exhalation for as long as possible with a straight spine and without straining yourself. Slowly reduce the speed of breathing and increase the depth of your breath.
In this stressed out life of today, all of us are breathing at a fast pace. Physical, mental or emotional stress increases the metabolism of our body. Metabolism, simply put is the rate at which energy is being consumed by the cells of our body. This stress leads to a faster cell burnout. This simple breathing technique reduces the metabolism of the body thereby increasing the life span of the cell but most importantly without reducing the efficiency of the individual.
It is advisable to visit a Dhyan Foundation center near you to learn this breathing technique.
The article was published in South Africa Today